In a recent interview with The Telegraph, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan was asked if it was fair to price games, specifically Demon’s Soul in this case, at $70 and he believed it was saying:
If you measure the hours of entertainment provided by a video game, such as Demon’s Souls compared to any other form of entertainment, I think that’s a very straightforward comparison to draw.
And you know what? I might just agree. Demon’s Souls is one example of a game that delivers next-generation graphical and performance improvements along with generous replay value that could last you weeks to fully play and explore.
I know. We don’t want to pay more if we don’t have to, but we’ve gone on long enough living in an ideal world where prices haven’t gone up since the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2006 — the last time games had a significant price hike to $60. Most titles have been largely priced the same for the last 14 years — when you take inflation into account, they’ve actually gotten cheaper and you get much, much more out of them now.
Take the recent Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War (say that three times fast!). For $70 on PS5, you get the equivalent of a summer blockbuster in the campaign, along with Dead Ops Arcade, Zombies proper, and a deep multiplayer component to play with all your friends for weeks on end. Throw in the different ways it integrates with the free-to-play Warzone and you’re set for at least the next year until the rumored Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remake drops.
On replayability alone, a game like CODBLOPS: Cold War more than earns a heftier $70 price tag and then you throw in fancy high-res graphics, ray tracing, and other assets that are not cheap to produce and it becomes undeniable.
It might just be time that the whiz bang graphics, immense replayability and the cost of making games themselves warrant a $10 increase. The reason we might not have seen it as widespread yet could be due to gamers being stretched thin considering the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its implications. The continued success of freemium titles like Call of Duty: Warzone and Fornite might also have something to do with it, of course.
We might just be due for another price hike to $70 premium games that have come to be known as AAAA instead of AAA of the last generation. Otherwise, the free-to-play titles that have been hunting whales for the last 10 years or so take over. And, maybe they have a place in the space, but they shouldn’t have it all in exchange for no more premium experiences if we’re not willing to part with a — justified — $10 increase this generation.